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Utah man with broken pelvis, ribs digs out of mudslide

By Devon Dolan | Posted - Apr 16th, 2014 @ 10:48pm

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CENTERVILLE — A Utah man was excavating a pool when the walls of dirt started crumbling and eventually collapsed on top of him. After almost an hour of struggle, he managed to pull himself to safety.

Luke Marti, 34, is now recovering at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray where he recalled his traumatic story of survival.

“I just knew I had to dig deep. I just knew there wasn’t going to be any other hope than myself,” Marti said.

Marti was buried and unable to move. He had been trapped for more than 40 minutes, and it was going to be another hour before rescuers could reach him.

“I had this overwhelming feeling of 'You got to get yourself out or you’re going to die,' ” Marti said.

Despite a severed spleen, a shattered pelvis and a broken collar-bone and ribs, Marti reached beyond the pain.

“Every 30 seconds of effort I put to getting out, I would have to take another 30 seconds of break and try not to lose consciousness,” said Marti.

One image kept him digging for more than 20 minutes — a portrait of his family.

“It was almost like they were waiting for me at the finish line. They couldn’t get to me, but I had to get to them. And I got to them. Honestly, it kept me alive just having that determination to get to them,” Marti said.

Fire Chief Jeff Bassett of the South Davis Fire Department helped with the rescue and says Marti showed us what we are all capable of.

“You can survive. You can win that battle,” Bassett said. We can do amazing things during times of urgent need,” said Bassett.

“When you’re that close to death, not many people can tell you what it’s like to have to dig that deep to save yourself,” said Marti.

People who've heard of Marti's strength have been inspired. As he heals, the community is helping him to be strong.

“I just want to get out there and help people for the same reason that they’ve helped me,” said Marti

Marti will be released from the hospital on Friday. He'll then go through extensive rehabilitation. A fundraiser for him will be held on May 10 at Complete Nutrition in Sandy. For more information go to


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